OKLAHOMA CITY – Police in Oklahoma City are investigating a mysterious death after a 45-year-old man stopped breathing just seconds after being handcuffed by officers.
It all happened Monday night near S.W. 32nd and S. Byers.
The man didn’t appear to have any injuries and it is believed he died as a side effect of being on drugs.
Desiree White, a resident in the area, said, “We didn’t know why he died.”
White looked on as her neighbors trapped the suspect on the ground before police arrived.
She said, “I was concerned it might be my nephew and they said ‘No, this guy was breaking into cars and houses.”
Capt. Dexter Nelson, with the Oklahoma City Police Department, said, “The individual was trying to break into cars and homes. We don’t know why.”
Surveillance video shows the first police officer pulling up to the scene but the group of neighbors already had the suspect detained.
Police quickly put the man in handcuffs when he passed out.
Capt. Nelson said, “As they were walking to a police car, he collapsed. It’s believed the individual was under the influence of some type of narcotic or alcohol.”
Police speculate the man’s use of drugs or alcohol may have contributed to his death.
He said, “We’ve had this in the past. People die from excited delirium. Sometimes when people are on drugs and involved with fighting or running, once they’re in custody, they stop breathing.”
White said, “It’s just a bad situation.”
Neighbors, like White, blame the suspect and his alleged criminal behavior, not the police, for the death.
Nelson said, “It doesn’t appear they did anything but handcuff the individual and walk him to the car.”
Police haven’t confirmed the suspect’s name, but we’re told he is 45-year-old.
Police say he may have come from out-of-state.
Authorities learned he had felony warrants for his arrest and was driving a stolen truck.
The officers involved have been placed on paid leave while the case is investigated.